Sun, 23 Mar 1997 10:03:13 GMT

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'UNITE THE STRUGGLES'=20 - a perspective for the Broad Left in the trade union movement in Britain = =20

1) As the crisis of capitalism intensifies, so a growing number of workers are thrown into struggle against their employers:- Liverpool dockers, Magnet, Hillingdon Hospital workers, Project Aerospace, Coventry, Critchley Labels, South Wales etc. This will continue despite the return of a New Labour government.

2) The enemy against which all these workers fight, is the same enemy recognised by workers throughout the world. Their enemy, our enemy is capitalism. The deepening crisis of the capitalist system is not cyclical or episodic as in the past, it is structural and gives rise to ever more brutal and frenzied attacks by the ruling class on workers in many countries of the world.

3) The basic and elementary demands of the mass of the people - work in human conditions, a decent standard of living, free time, housing, health-care, security in old age, freedom of expression, of organisation and of movement, and so on - can no longer be conceded and are everywhere under attack.=20

4) These basic demands - of those defending the environment, of trade unionists, of the unemployed, of the old and the young, of the peoples of colonial and semi-colonial countries cannot any longer be tolerated and integrated into the capitalist system.=20

5) Those who fight for these demands must expect to come under attack from the repressive forces of the state. The necessity of their solidarity, combining against those attacks and turning defence into attack is a solid objective basis for the reconstruction of the working-class movement.

6) More and more, capital destroys full-time work and job security, driving for individual contracts, part-time and low-paid work, and inflicts mass unemployment especially on the youth. Trade union solidarity actions are made illegal. These attacks come not from capital's strength but from its crisis.

7) This crisis is global in the sense of universal and threatening the end of humanity. Therefore, it provokes many, many struggles and demands, not in themselves trade union demands but requiring the abolition of capital. The movement as a whole against capital is therefore pluralist, because capital's crisis gives rise to mass movements.

8) Throughout the world there is a growing militancy and organisation amongst workers and their allies in the anti-capital struggles.

9) As all strikers quickly learn, it is only through determined and sustained solidarity action, involving sometimes environmentalists, asylum seekers and justice campaigners, that workers in Britain can free themselves from the legal shackles imposed by the Tories. In light of New Labour's stated intention to continue to use and extend these anti-union, anti-working class laws, it is clear that solidarity actions will increasingly become the order of the day.

10) The British worker fights the same enemy as the workers' movements in S. Korea, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bangladesh, Turkey, Kashmir, Pakistan, South Africa, Mexico and many other places. All the struggles mentioned here, are indissolubly linked with all other struggles of workers and toilers throughout the world. =20 11) The inability of today's capital to make any important concessions to the workers of particular countries, or industries, or occupations, means that the working-class must seek a way forward as a single class, internationally.

12) Our class must overcome the traditional division between the political and industrial wings of the workers' movement and develop, like the dockers have done, a political/industrial strategy. Trade unionists have for too long been willing to leave political matters to the politicians; to continue to do so is dangerous to the workers' movement.=20

13) It is an unfortunate fact that with the threat of sequestration of union funds looming large in every dispute, no General Secretary is going to place their entire union in jeopardy by mobilising the support necessary to win struggles for only a part of their membership.=20

14) This demands the early establishment of local support groups throughout the length and breadth of the land, to exist as standing bodies, not simply attached to one particular dispute; to mobilise financial and physical support for the struggles of the day; to ensure the experience gained in each struggle is added to the 'bank balance' of the workers' movement and to raise funds for a 'war chest', based on the extension of the regular '=A31= per person per week' levy which already exists in some workplaces, to ensure that no struggle is lost through financial need. We in the Broad Left should be leading the fight for such workplace levies and working with others in our localities to establish support groups.

15)These support groups must of necessity be pluralist in character and they are not new unions. Rather, they meet a vital need which the trade unions do not provide for their members and which they are unlikely to provide in the foreseeable future, just at the time when workers need them most. =20

16) National Solidarity Conferences should be convened as and when appropriate, by those involved in the struggles of the day, to act as a 'clearing house' for information and as a co-ordinating body to unite the struggles and build solidarity. Three have so far been held, two in Liverpool and one in Darlington (convened by the Magnet Strikers).

17) We in the Broad Left should commit ourselves to rebuilding the workers' movement and to the removal of sectarianism and division in working class organisations. We should redouble our fight for workers' internationalism, democracy in trade unions and for unions independent of the state and employers. We should continue to welcome into our ranks, as comrades in struggle, all those who support these principles, irrespective of their political outlook.

18) A Broad Left in any union, whose dominant activity is to get some people elected to office within the union, rather than to commit the union and those elected within the union, to the policies necessary to meet the needs of the working class, will have failed. It will have become an organisation of careerists.=20

19) To overthrow capitalism and replace the barbarism it inflicts on humanity, requires a movement to overcome sectarianism and build unity of purpose, under the leadership of the working class. It is the clear responsibility of us all to assist the struggle and fight for that unity, alongside all workers in dispute wherever they are, now and in the future.= =20

=20 ____________________________________________________________________ This is from the International Trade Union Solidarity Campaign (ITUSC) at:- e-mail: itusc@gn.apc.org website: http://www.itusc.org.uk 'snail' mail: PO Box 18, Epsom, Britain, KT18 7YR Tel/Fax ++44 (0) 1372 817 778 The ITUSC is an international and internationalist association of organised workers and communities, dedicated to rebuilding the workers' movement and to overcoming sectarianism and division in working class organisations. It was founded in 1991 on the following principles: 1) trade unions independent of the state and employers; 2) democracy within trade unions, and; 3) workers' internationalism. Any individuals or organisations that accept these principles and are prepared to work for them, are regarded as comrades by the ITUSC. ____________________________________________________________________


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